Wedded Kiss

Maestro and Empress have tied the knot! As you read this we are on our way to the scenic desert for some warm, moonlit nights.  We look forward to our future which is sure to be filled with love, beauty, and music.  

photo by Karen Johnson

More about the Leviathan in the Baroque Grotto here

Eye of the Beholder

 Lover's eye portrait pin with seed pearls, circa 1810

Since writing my first post about miniature eye portraits  (September 2008) or "Lovers Eyes" as they are often called,   I have managed to get even a bit more obsessed with them, and even succeeded in finding one for my very own (above) via Tail of the Yak in Berkeley, one of my favorite sources for inspiring things.

Last year I started restoring a family collection of miniature portraits and have spent many hours looking closely at how they were painted.
I like to paint at very large scale, and in so doing I closely examine and celebrate details and moments in paintings that would otherwise just be accents.  Perhaps because of this examination, these intimate little gems really enthrall me, and I have been researching the techniques involved in creating them. Usually miniature portraits were painted with gouache or watercolor on ivory, and later cellulose nitrate, also known as ivorine.  Lover's eyes  were nearly always mounted into jewelry:  pins, pendants, and sometimes rings.   Mourning jewelry sometimes took this form as well.
In my research I found a number of artists  from the 20th century who were working in this medium, as well as contemporary artists who are reviving this art in their own fashion.
Tabitha Vevers has painted some beautiful lover's eyes based on portraits by Simon Martini, Ingres,  and even Man Ray.
The image at left is one of Vevers' lover's eye miniatures, painted in oils after a Bronzino portrait.

Mona Connor has recently started a series of miniature eye portraits using  egg tempera, and has even started a blog about this project.

Eye portrait of Erling Wold,  250% of life size, oil on panel ©Lynne Rutter
I might continue to work larger than life, but I am so inspired by these tiny tributes, and the methods used to create them, that I may be launching a new project of my own soon.


Recent Press for Moi

Today I learned my interview with the Faux Finisher Magazine resulted in the cover story for the Spring 2010 issue, including a seven page spread about my "illustrious and varied career"  with lots of color pictures.  PDF of article here.
This is a painting and decorating trade magazine published by the PDRA, for specialists in the decorative painting industry.